Cultural Survival, Tribal Sovereignty and River Restoration on the Central Northwest Coast, North America

Boyd, C.E. and J.B. Boyd

Publication Date:

The Elwha River system on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state (USA) is a storied land. For the Klallam (Coast Salish) people who claim it as their homeland, it is a place filled with narratives about culture, place, and the past. Even so, they have not been able to access many of their sacred sites for several generations because of the development of two hydroelectric dams on the Elwha River. In 1992 the U.S. Congress passed the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act. This legislation brings together tribal, federal, and regional partners in an effort to restore the Elwha River through dam removal, which will allow the river’s salmon and steelhead populations to access pristine spawning ground in the upper reaches of the river, rehabilitate salmon habitat, and replenish beaches starved by the loss of the sediment now trapped behind the dams. For the last two decades, the Elwha Klallam and the U.S. National Park Service have been intergovernmental partners in the effort to implement this act.

Resource Type:

Water, Cultural Diversity, and Global Environmental Change